Song of the Day #4,995: ‘Be Alive’ – Beyoncé

Continuing my personal 2021 Oscar rundown, today I’m focusing on the gentlemen I would recognize for Best Actor.

First a shout out to five actors I considered for this lineup but ended up leaving out. Alphabetically, they are Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Joaquin Phoenix (C'mon C'mon), and Anthony Ramos (In the Heights).

Wonderful performances, all.

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Song of the Day #4,664: ‘Blow’ – Beyoncé

While I won’t argue with anybody who names 2016’s Lemonade as Beyoncé’s masterpiece, I do feel respect must be paid to the icon’s 2013 self-titled album.

The daring and sexy Beyoncé was the artist’s first “visual album” and the first she dropped unannounced, two tactics she repeated with great success on Lemonade. In ‘XO,’ ‘Drunk in Love’ and ‘Flawless,’ the album offered up three tracks as iconic as anything on its follow-up.

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Song of the Day #4,513: ‘Naughty Girl’ – Beyoncé

The same year Jay-Z released what he called his “retirement” album, his new girlfriend and future wife, Beyoncé Knowles, released her debut, Dangerously in Love.

Beyoncé had a successful career already as part of Destiny’s Child, but the trio had begun releasing solo material in order to boost the band’s profile. The move wound up boosting Beyoncé’s profile, no doubt, but Destiny’s Child released only one more album and Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams had less illustrious solo careers.

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Song of the Day #4,186: ‘Hold Up’ – Beyoncé

Best Albums of the 2010s – #6
Lemonade – Beyoncé (2016)

Beyoncé’s Lemonade is more than a great collection of songs (though it is that). It is a personal and political statement, at once deeply confessional and universally deep. It is also a “visual album” that links its tracks with spoken-word poetry and mesmerizing visuals.

It’s a project only an artist with the confidence and swagger of Beyoncé could pull off. And pull it off she does, beautifully.

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Song of the Day #3,970: ‘All Night’ – Beyoncé

‘All Night’ is the penultimate track on Beyoncé’s extraordinary 2016 “visual album” Lemonade. The early single ‘Formation’ closes things out, but this track is the emotional resolution, and on of the album’s best songs.

Much was made of the anger on Lemonade‘s early tracks (“he better call Becky with the good hair”), and people initially thought the album might even be Beyoncé’s very public way of leaving Jay-Z.

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